Everton manager David Moyes has said that he would have 'no problems' about putting Shane Duffy in the first team.
The Toffees boss is currently in the transfer market in search of a centre back, but admitted that 21-year-old Republic of Ireland under-21 international Duffy was ready to step into the team when required.
Duffy, who signed a new contract in 2012, has had loan spells with Burnley and Scunthorpe United, and has made just two appearances for Everton this season.
"We've got young Shane Duffy who's doing well and we think he's ready to certainly go on loan but because of our numbers we can’t do it," Moyes told reporters ahead of his side's clash with Southampton.
"I'd have no problems putting him in the first team either. He's looking OK just now he really is."
Moyes also expressed the belief that it is difficult to play a young centre back in the modern game, considering the demands that are made and says that it is a position that requires experience.
"It's actually harder to play a young centre back than it is a young goalkeeper these days," he added. "Centre backs are really hard to put in and when you get the young ones in sometimes they're not quite ready."
"I think the requirements on them are different. They’re sometimes the ones who start the game; they have to be able to read the game depending on the way the opposition plays, whether it’s with one up and one off.
"It’s a position that nearly carries an ‘experience required’ tag with it," said the Everton coach.